With Yankees news and rumors essentially revolving around baited breath, the fact that the team's pitching staff is rife with question marks seems to have fallen by the wayside. Fans and analysts alike are quick to point out that the Yankees could dominate with a one-two punch of Sabathia and Lee, yet fail to discuss the fact that the team must have some sort of consolation plan in effect should Lee sign elsewhere. As the offseason has progressed, most of the more palatable free agent have been snatched up - Jorge De La Rosa, Jon Garland, Hiroki Kuroda, Jake Westbrook, Aaron Harang, Ted Lilly, Vicente Padilla, Hisanori Takahashi, and Kevin Correia are gone, leaving Freddy Garcia and Carl Pavano as the best of the rest. A trade, then, seems like a likely scenario.
According to the Miami Herald, the Marlins are gauging interest in twenty-eight year old Ricky Nolasco. Here's a quick look at his resume:
2010 - 157.2 IP, 169 H, 33 BB, 147 K, 4.51 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 3.55 xFIP
Career - 716.1 IP, 732 H, 169 BB, 638 K, 4.45 ERA, 3.91 FIP, 3.81 xFIP
Nolasco throws a low-90s fastball with good movement, a mid-80s slider, a mid-70s curveball, and a mid-80s splitter. His slider and curveball are his out pitches swing-and-miss pitches, but his splitter is somewhat inconsistent. Nolasco has a reputation for being somewhat unlucky (as his ERA and peripherals would suggest), but the talent is obviously there.
The Marlins are also listening to offers for reliever Leo Nunez, who is coming off of a very good season as the team's closer. With the Yankees being linked back to Kerry Wood, it appears that they may be interested in an established arm for the eighth inning - a role that Nunez could fill ably.
As I'm sure many have already assumed, the Marlins are willing to deal these two fine pitchers for financial reasons - Nolasco is likely to earn between $6 and $7 MM in arbitration, and Nunez $4 MM or so. Never a team to simply let a player walk, few expect to see the Marlins retain these two for much longer.
I'm not quite sure what sort of return the Marlins would expect for Nolasco and Nunez, I doubt that they would terribly cheap. While neither has the assurance of a long-term deal, both come with a year of team control, for which they will likely earn a team friendly salary (at least, friendly to the Yankees). Perhaps Ivan Nova, Brandon Laird, Corban Joseph, and another arm could get the ball rolling.